On Sunday, Jeff Charles outlined the efforts of the Sunrise Movement, the Justice Democrats, and others, to use the occasion of the 2020 Elections to place more AOC-style far-left Democrats in office. It’s a good bet that they will be reasonably successful at this. These groups appear to be both smart and selective about recruiting candidates, and about choosing the districts on which to focus their efforts. Charles notes the obvious rift this will cause in the Party, and says:
The victor will determine what the Democratic Party will become: A far-left party cascading towards the Marxism of Bernie Sanders, or a moderate party more closely resembling former President Barack Obama.
I think it’s the former, and this will cause a problem for the Republican Party in the short term because the Democratic Party is unlikely to split in two in time to save it as an institution. Instead, I think millions of Democratic voters looking for mainstream, Bill Clinton-style governance — as opposed to far-left “big structural change” — will simply start voting Republican. Ultimately, it will be the Republican Party, by then swollen with millions of center-left Democrats who had nowhere else to go, that splits in two. Those two parties, whatever they are called, will become America’s two major political parties while what remains of the Democratic Party “cascades toward Marxism,” as Charles put it. I figure it will take something like 15-20 years for this to all work itself out. But it will start soon… probably right after the next election when the next crop of “squad members” is introduced.
I see two main evolutionary trends, both unstoppable, that conspire to drive today’s Democratic Party toward irrelevance. The first is the atomization of media. In barely thirty years, our news media have gone from three broadcast networks and the Associated Press to a fine mist of cable news networks, YouTube channels, web sites, blogs, podcasts, talk radio shows, and social media personalities that no ideological grouping can possibly dominate. The left’s usual tools of Cultural Hegemony no longer work to keep the “national conversation” confined to their narratives. What’s interesting is that many of them do not know this. They are still walking around thinking that their narrative is The Narrative… that only a few cranks hold opinions different from theirs.
The second thing that a fractured media causes is the impoverishment of media institutions. The once-mighty Newsweek was sold for one dollar. The even mightier Washington Post was sold to a retailing mogul who keeps it as a pet. Daily newspapers are going slowly out of business, from sea to shining sea. As money becomes tight, newsrooms fill up with the cheapest possible labor, which puts a great deal of what Democrats hear in “their” media in the hands of 20-something J-school grads whose previous job was on the college newspaper. The content produced by these crews skews a lot more leftward than the country as a whole. These are the people who made AOC a star. They’re the ones who talked Nancy Pelosi into impeaching Trump. And they’re the ones cheering for Medicare for All. The Democrats have always been led around by their media, but their media used to be sane. Now it’s full of college-grade idealists who think that food should be free.
The other evolutionary change is driven by the natural tendency of leftists to associate only with people like themselves. Leftists don’t like hearing disagreeable opinions. Left to their own devices, they will move to places where “never is heard a discouraging word,” and that is not out On The Range. The last 20 years has witnessed a remarkable congregation of our most liberal voters into a relatively small number of “vote silos” in urban areas and college towns where Democratic politicians regularly win elections by huge — 80-20 or even 90-10 — margins. Meanwhile, all around them, Republicans are winning seats by much closer margins.
In our geography-based representative government, people who concentrate themselves in vote silos are doomed to long-term disappointment. They may win the occasional wave election, but most years will be long on votes and short on seats. Democrats who believe that “demography is destiny” haven’t factored in the fact that going from winning CA-43 by 20%, to winning it by 40%, doesn’t get any more seats.
So here come the Justice Democrats and the Sunrise Movement to place highly annoying Radical Change Artists in all the vote silos that are already full of left-wing yahoos whose brains are steeped in media created by people who were still in J-school last year. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Of course they are going to succeed.
The problem is, in succeeding they scare the ordinary people who vote Democrat. Those folks feel no desire to move to a college town to “get away from Republicans.” They would never vote for anyone who calls himself a Socialist. Yet because the media is now full of 20-something AOC-boosters, the left-wing loudmouths are the ones featured in the news, the ones held up as representing “the future of the Democratic Party.” It’s enough to make a midwestern Democrat vote Republican. Which is increasingly what I expect to happen, until the “Republican” party is so large, unwieldy, and ideologically diverse that it cracks in two. That will leave today’s Republican Party, and what used to be the Democratic Party split into two smaller parties, neither of which can win a national election. That will be fun for however long it lasts.